John Bolton has claimed Donald Trump told Turkey’s President Erdogan he would intervene in a Southern District of New York investigation of a state-owned Turkish bank.
In an interview with ABC set to air Sunday the former National Security adviser said the move ‘did feel like obstruction of justice to me’. Bolton, promoting his tell all memoir, said he had ‘never heard any president say anything like that. Ever.’
His comments were recorded before Geoffrey Berman, head of the Southern District of New York attorney’s office, was fired Saturday. His removal sparking uproar and triggering an inquiry by Democratic lawmakers.
Exclusive DailyMail.com pictures show Berman, known for probing allies of Trump, leaving his office for the final time Saturday. He had been in the role 2018.
Bolton alleges that Trump sought to cut a deal to stop federal prosecutors in New York from investigating whether Halkbank violated U.S. sanctions against Iran in order to free an American pastor imprisoned in Turkey.
Six weeks after the pastor’s release, Bolton writes that on a call with the Turkish president ‘Trump then told Erdoğan he would take care of things’.
In an interview with ABC John Bolton claims Trump told Turkey’s President Erdogan he would intervene in a Southern District of NY investigation of a state-owned Turkish bank
Geoffrey Berman, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, after leaving his office for the last time on Saturday
Exclusive DailyMail.com pictures show Berman, known for probing allies of Trump, leaving his office for the final time Saturday. He had been in the role 2018
Asked about those claims Bolton told ABC: ‘What Erdogan wanted was basically a settlement that would take the pressure off Halkbank. And the president said to Erdogan at one point, ‘Look, those prosecutors in New York are Obama people. Wait till I get my people in and then we’ll take care of this’.
‘This idea that you give Erdogan and his family, who use Halkbank like a slush fund — in exchange for, what, some hope down the road of some other kind of treatment for Trump or the country — was very troubling.’
The Room Where It Happened portrays Trump as a president solely motivated by re-election efforts with a penchant for misconduct – including agreeing to back off criminal probes as ‘personal favors’ to certain dictators that make up a foreign policy characterized by ‘chaos’ and aimed at the president’s personal benefit
The episode Bolton describes occurred in December 2018, months after Berman assumed the role of U.S. attorney.
Acknowledging the prosecution of Halbank has continued Bolton said: ‘I don’t think I know enough about all the circumstances, but I tell ya, it did feel like obstruction of justice to me.’
Bolton’s tell all memoir, The Room Where It Happened, portrays Trump as a president solely motivated by re-election efforts with a penchant for misconduct.
Allegations included agreeing to back off criminal probes as ‘personal favors’ to certain dictators that make up a foreign policy characterized by ‘chaos’ and aimed at the president’s personal benefit.
Set to be released on June 23, the book also contains a claim that Trump pleaded with Chinese President Xi Jinping to boost U.S. food purchases, describing it in terms of his own election. Trump regularly touts a deal to pause the China trade war as one of his chief accomplishments.
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who in the book is portrayed by Bolton as being disloyal to and dismissive of the president, has also waded in calling Bolton a ‘traitor who damaged America by violating his sacred trust with its people.’
EXPLOSIVE CLAIMS MADE IN BOLTON’S BOOK:
- Trump agreed to ‘back off’ criminal probes as ‘personal favors’ to dictators
- Told Chinese President Xi Jinping he should go ahead with building camps the regime was constructing for Chinese Uighurs
- Put Jared Kushner in charge of several foreign policy matters
- Spent part of Osaka summit ‘pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win’ reelection by buying US crops’
- Believed Finland was part of Russia
- Said invading Venezuala was ‘cool’ and said the nation was ‘really part of the United States’
- Made it a ‘high priority’ to get Mike Pompeo to hand a copy of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ to North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un
- Did not know Great Britain was a nuclear power
- Defended Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi to distract attention from Ivanka Trump using her personal email
- Postponed removing the US from the Iran deal so Melania Trump could announce her Be Best campaign
- Claimed he was going to be nominated for a Noble Peace Prize for his North Korea summit
- Said he always broke up with women he dated because he didn’t like being dumped
- Referred to his former UN.Ambassador Nikki Haley as a ‘c***’ while Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump wanted her to replace Mike Pence
Berman discovered his job was in jeopardy via a press release late Friday from Attorney General Bill Barr saying the prosecutor was stepping down.
The top prosecutor responded that he had ‘no intention’ of quitting, and that his office’s ‘investigations will move forward without interruption.’
But Barr sent him a letter Saturday saying Trump had agreed to fire the official ‘as of today.’
A DOJ spokesperson said of Bolton’s claims: ‘There was no discussion of ‘personal favors’ or ‘undue influence’ on investigations, nor did Attorney General Barr state that the President’s conversations with foreign leaders were improper.
‘If this is truly what Mr. Bolton has written, then it seems he is attributing to Attorney General Barr his own current views — views with which Attorney General Barr does not agree.’
The fast-intensifying crisis surrounding Berman’s firing has pitted the government against much of Washington’s legal community and has apparently set Barr against Trump, who denied any involvement in the case.
In his letter, circulated widely by US media, Barr accused Berman of having ‘chosen public spectacle over public service’ through his defiance.
Berman -who later confirmed in a statement he would be leaving ‘immediately’ – finds himself at the center of the latest controversy in what Democrats have characterized as the politicization of the Justice Department under Barr.
The veteran prosecutor had overseen the prosecution of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and probed advisor Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to discredit the president’s political opponents.
But Trump, speaking to reporters ahead of a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, denied sacking Berman — further adding to the confused messaging coming from the administration.
‘That’s all up to the attorney general… He’s working on that, that’s his department, not my department,’ Trump said. ‘I’m not involved.’
Berman discovered his job was in jeopardy via a press release late Friday from Attorney General Bill Barr saying the prosecutor was stepping down
Bolton, right is currently promoting his tell all memoir about his time working with Trump, left
Berman, a Republican who held a position in Trump’s transition team and was once a law partner of Giuliani, has pursued cases against tycoon sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell last year.
He has also investigated two associates of Giuliani accused of campaign finance violations and helping dig up dirt on Trump’s election challenger Joe Biden as part of the Ukraine scandal over which Trump was impeached.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer urged the Justice Department’s inspector general to launch an investigation into ‘blatantly corrupt DOJ interference.’
Meanwhile Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, accused Barr of repeatedly interfering in ‘criminal investigations on Trump’s behalf.’
The committee said in a statement it would ‘immediately open an investigation into this incident, as part of our broader investigation into Barr’s unacceptable politicization of the Department of Justice.’
Two whistleblowers are scheduled to testify Wednesday on ‘why Barr’s attempt to fire Mr Berman is part of a larger, ongoing, and wholly unacceptable pattern of conduct,’ the statement added.
The Trump administration has in recent months fired or demoted inspectors general for the Pentagon, the intelligence community and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as a senior health official who questioned Trump’s promotion of unproven drug therapies for COVID-19.
State Department inspector general Steve Linick was removed last month after running a misconduct probe into Washington’s top diplomat and steadfast Trump ally Mike Pompeo.
Bolton alleges Trump, pictired, sought to cut a deal to stop federal prosecutors in New York from investigating whether Halkbank violated U.S. sanctions against Iran
Meanwhile Barr has been accused of repeatedly acting as Trump’s personal lawyer instead of in the interests of the public following the Justice Department’s intervention in several cases involving Trump allies.
More than 1,000 former department officials signed a statement calling for Barr’s resignation over his interference to get a lighter sentence for longtime Trump friend Roger Stone.
Since then Barr has been berated for his department’s decision to drop the case against Trump’s first national security advisor Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying about his Russia contacts to the FBI.
‘I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was `stepping down´ as United States Attorney. I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning,’ he announced in a statement shortly after 11 p.m. Friday. He showed up for work Saturday morning, telling reporters he was doing his job.
He explained he was appointed by Manhattan federal judges and wouldn’t budge until a successor was confirmed by Congress.
‘Our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption,’ he promised.
Barr waited until midafternoon Saturday to respond in a way that mimicked what happened to Bharara.
‘Unfortunately, with your statement of last night, you have chosen public spectacle over public service,’ Barr wrote a day after meeting Berman in Manhattan and offering him other jobs. ‘Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so.’
Set to be released on June 23, the book also contains a claim that Trump pleaded with Chinese President Xi Jinping to boost U.S. food purchases, describing it in terms of his own election. Trump regularly touts a deal to pause the China trade war as one of his chief accomplishments
By dinnertime, Berman had said he would leave his job, saying in light of Barr’s decision to ‘respect the normal operation of law’ and ask the deputy U.S. attorney to step in, he’d go immediately.
Since Berman was appointed in early January 2018 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his job security has always seemed precarious. A few months into his work, Manhattan judges appointed him permanently because Trump never formally nominated him.
Although he was recused from the prosecution of Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, he proceeded with other probes surely drawing interest from the president, including an insider trading prosecution of the first member of Congress to endorse Trump in 2016 and probes of Trump’s inaugural fundraising and efforts abroad on the president’s behalf by Giuliani.
Trump has asked aides if John Bolton will go to jail for his tell-all White House book as federal prosecutors mull charges for releasing classified information against the former NSC
ByLuke Kenton For Dailymail.com
Donald Trump has asked whether his former national security advisor, John Bolton, will be going to jail for releasing his new tell-all book exposing what it was like to work within the Trump administration.
Trump, who previously called the book ‘highly inappropriate’, is said to have casually asked his advisors, ‘Do you think he’s going to go to jail for this?’ as tensions boil over in the days before the controversial memoir is released, the Daily Beast reported.
The president’s inquiry comes as federal prosecutors are said to be weighing up whether to criminally charge Bolton for disclosing classified information within the book, which is titled The Room Where It Happened, due for release June 23.
Though it’s highly unlikely that any prison time will result, that hasn’t stopped the president from denouncing his former aid, calling Bolton a ‘despicable man’ who will be facing some ‘criminal problems’.
‘I will consider every conversation with me as president highly classified. If he wrote a book and if the book gets out, he’s broken the law and I would think you would have criminal problems,’ Trump insisted earlier this week.
‘If this guy is writing things about conversations or about anything — and maybe he is not telling the truth. He’s been known not to tell the truth, a lot,’ he continued.
Trump, who previously called the book ‘highly inappropriate’, is said to have casually asked officials within his administration, ‘Do you think he’s going to go to jail for this?’ as tensions boil over in the days before the controversial memoir is released
Bolton’s memoir claims Trump agreed to back off criminal probes as ‘personal favors’ to certain dictators as part of a foreign policy characterized by ‘chaos’ and aimed at the president’s personal benefit
In a bid to prevent some of the allegations made by the 71-year-old from seeing the light of day, the Trump administration filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to block the book from being released in its current form.
That lawsuit was dismissed by Judge Royce Lamberth of the DC District Court on Saturday morning, who ruled the Justice Department’s arguments weren’t enough to block the book’s release.
Lamberth added that the book had already been widely distributed, and could be distributed further on the internet, even if the court said it couldn’t be.
‘For reasons that hardly need to be stated, the Court will not order a nationwide seizure and destruction of a political memoir,’ Lamberth wrote in his ruling. ‘It seems to me, as we used to say in Texas, that the horse is out of the barn.’
In response, Trump fumed on Twitter that Bolton will have a ‘really big price to pay’, and called his former aid a ‘despicable man’ who has broken the law.
‘Wow, I finally agree with failed political consultant Steve Schmidt, who called Wacko John Bolton “a despicable man who failed in his duty to protect America.”’ he tweeted.
‘Also stated that he should never be allowed to serve in government again. So true! Plain and simple, John Bolton, who was all washed up until I brought him back and gave him a chance, broke the law by releasing Classified Information (in massive amounts).’
Trump added that Bolton must pay a ‘very big price’: ‘He must pay a very big price for this, as others have before him. This should never to happen again!!!’
Trump slammed the decision on Twitter branding Bolton a ‘despicable man’ and claimed he was ‘all washed up’ until he ‘brought him back and gave him a chance’
Bolton became Trump’s national security adviser in April 2018 and left in September 2019.
Trump claims he fired him but Bolton has said he actually stepped because he clashed with the president on several policy issues, including Iraq, Afghanistan and the Ukraine.
In a September 10 tweet, Trump wrote on Twitter that he had ‘informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House.
‘I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning.’
However, just hours later that same day, Bolton tweeted that he ‘offered to resign last night and President Trump said, “Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”’
Bolton’s memoir claims Trump agreed to back off criminal probes as ‘personal favors’ to certain dictators as part of a foreign policy characterized by ‘chaos’ and aimed at the president’s personal benefit.
Bolton describes a ‘pattern of fundamentally unacceptable behavior that eroded the very legitimacy of the presidency.’
Bolton writes that in cases involving China and Turkey, Trump was willing to ‘in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked.’
‘The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn’t accept,’ Bolton writes.
In the case of China, Bolton describes Trump as begging the leader, with whom he regularly touts his good relationship. Trump was ‘pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win. He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome,’ according to the book.
China agreed to billions in purchases of U.S. agriculture product to end the trade war that began when Trump slapped on tariffs to protest China trade practices.
Trump implored Xi during a one-on-one meeting during their summit in Osaka, according to Bolton.
Xi complained about China critics in the U.S., and Trump immediately assumed he meant Democrats, according to another excerpt that appeared in the Washington Post.
‘He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,’ according to Bolton.
‘He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.
Trump cast the deal as a breakthrough when he described it from Osaka.
‘For the time being we won’t be lifting tariffs on China,’ Trump told reporters. ‘We will work with China. They are going to negotiate and start spending money.’
‘Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation,’ said Xi, prompting Trump to say: ‘It would be historic if we can do a fair trade deal.’
China had imposed retaliatory tariffs in a way that maximized pressure by focusing on key farm states including Iowa. When the ‘Phase One’ deal was finally inked in January of this year, China agreed to buy $12.5 billion in additional U.S. agriculture products.
Bolton describes a meeting in New Jersey in 2019 where Trump tears into journalists amid his ongoing consternation about leaks and says they should be forced to give up their sources. ‘These people should be executed. They are scumbags,’ Trump said, according to Bolton.
Trump fumed on Twitter that Bolton will have a ‘really big price to pay’, and called his former aid a ‘despicable man’ who has broken the law
In another episode, Bolton writes, Russian President in May last year compared Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to Hillary Clinton in a gambit to win Trump over. The U.S. recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader amid protests to the rule of Nicolas Maduro.
Bolton called it a ‘brilliant display of Soviet style propaganda’ to boost Maduro that ‘largely persuaded Trump.’
‘I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,’ Bolton writes.
Trump also believed that Finland was a part of Russia, according to the book.
Trump also told Xi: ‘You’re the greatest Chinese leader in 300 years.’ Then later, in a nation that still reveres Mao Tse Tung, Trump called him ‘the greatest leader in Chinese history.’
One passage depicts Trump showing contempt for a persecuted religious minority that U.S. policy seeks to protect by calling out repression of mostly Muslim Uighurs.’
‘Trump asked me at the 2018 White House Christmas dinner why we were considering sanctioning China over its treatment of the Uighurs, a largely Muslim people who live primarily in China’s northwest Xinjiang Province,’ Bolton writes.
‘At the opening dinner of the Osaka G-20 meeting in June 2019, with only interpreters present, Xi had explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang,’ he continued.
‘According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do. The National Security Council’s top Asia staffer, Matthew Pottinger, told me that Trump said something very similar during his November 2017 trip to China.’